With all the money that is around in the modern game, it is easy to overlook some of the other issues that are evident in the world of football.
Playing professional sport with an illness is something that should not be taken for granted. When people mention ‘asthma’, most people overlook it as a ‘minority’ illness and something that isn’t very serious.
How do I know this? Well, I myself am a sufferer and have been all my life. Every time I play sport, I go through the routine of warming up, doing my one inhaler and making sure my other inhaler is near by in case I need it.
Why is this relevant to football? Well, few people know that many professional footballers have to go through the same routine before matches and training. It may surprise many people of some of the names that suffer with asthma, and how they have done so well to overcome the problems it carries.
Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard confirmed he suffers from it and has spoken out to ensure that it should be treated properly, and not be overlooked. He says it shouldn’t hold youngsters back from wanting to enjoy the game.
Manchester United veteran Paul Scholes has played with the condition all of his career, and has not let it stop him playing at one of the best clubs in the world…not to mention picking up all those medals along the way.
Louis Saha, Paul Gascoigne, Ian Wright and Robbie Fowler are just some of the other well-known names that overcame the condition and go on to become very successful in the footballing world.
One player that only confirmed he suffered from asthma last year was former-England captain David Beckham, who was photographed using an inhaler during LA Galaxy’s MLS Cup Final defeat to Real Salt Lake. Beckham, who has carved out massively successful careers in sport, advertising and merchandising (to name but a few) has never let the condition hold him back.
His agent, Simon Oliveira, was keen to point out that Beckham never wanted to make it public that he suffered from asthma, but youngsters should instead use it as an inspiration and follow in his footsteps.
“David has suffered with this since he was a young boy but obviously it has had no effect on his performance.
“He has never sought to make it public but, if it does inspire any sufferer to think they can achieve great things, then so much the better.”
Although it’s way too late for me to consider a career in sport, players like this can act as an inspiration to youngsters that have asthma…not just in this country, but all over the world. The condition stops us from breathing properly, but it is fantastic to see so many great players shrug off the condition and battle against it to achieve what they have.